Careers

5 psychological tricks that can help you get ahead in your career

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When it comes to getting ahead at work, the small things can really add up. Remembering someone's name or asking an intelligent follow up question, for instance, can help you come across as likable, confident and engaged, and ultimately give you a professional boost.

Here are five simple tricks that can help you get ahead in your career.

Ask questions

According to new Harvard University research, if you ask questions during a conversation, and specifically smart follow-up questions, you're more likely to be perceived as likable, both online and in person.

Follow-up questions, the research team notes, show that a person is not only listening, but is also interested and engaged.

New Harvard University research examined over 300 online and in-person conversations.
Willie B. Thomas
New Harvard University research examined over 300 online and in-person conversations.

Set unreasonably high expectations

The most successful people set their expectations exceptionally high and are up for any challenge, says Steve Siebold, self-made millionaire and author of "How Rich People Think."

"No one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations," he writes. "Ancient wisdom says you get what you expect, yet many people decide to limit their lives to middle-class mediocrity in an effort to protect themselves from failure."

Embrace moments of silence when negotiating

"When you ask someone a question and they're slow to respond, don't feel pressure to move the conversation forward," says Travis Bradberry, the co-founder of TalentSmart.

Remaining silent can play to your advantage, he writes: "Moments of silence make people feel as though they should speak, especially when the ball is in their court. This is a great tool to use in negotiations and other difficult conversations. Just make certain you resist the urge to move the conversation forward until you get your answer."

Create a visual association to remember people's names

Using a person's name in conversation shows respect, acceptance and friendliness, says Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie. But recalling names is easier said than done.

To get better at remembering names, create a visual association right after meeting someone. Say you're introduced to someone named Brian who's wearing big glasses. If you make a mental note of him as "Brian with the big glasses," you're more likely to remember his name, experts say.

Nod your head to get someone to agree with what you're saying

"The next time you need to win someone over to your way of thinking, try nodding your head as you speak," says Bradberry.

"People unconsciously mirror the body language of those around them in order to better understand what other people are feeling. When you nod your head as you speak, you convey that what you're saying is true and desirable, and people are more inclined to agree with you."

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